Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
490 Riverside Drive, 11th floor
New York, NY 10027-5788

(212) 896 1700


Schoenberg | Transfigured Night (Verklärte Nacht), Chamber Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, 1990

The Orpheus performance sustains the tensions and relishes the pungencies of this quirky yet cogent music with an ideal blend of wit and pathos.Arnold Whittall, Gramophone


Our take

Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony Opus 9 is no joke. 22 minutes of complex, unrelenting, rapturous expressivity - a genius composer searching, through the voices of “15 solo instruments”, for nothing less than the future of music. The piece is damned difficult. I’ll never forget the first time I heard Orpheus’ jaw-dropping 1990 Deutsche Grammophon recording - assured from the first note, melodies erupting and flowing above, below and around each other, quicksilver changes in character, a persistent, unified clarity of intention; the performance, from beginning to end, is audacious. Apparently Schoenberg himself conducted the 1907 premiere of the work in Vienna - I can’t help but think that, had he encountered Orpheus’ extraordinary rendition for 15 chamber musicians, he might have been inclined to leave the baton at home.

— James Austin Smith, Orpheus oboist